Philosophy of Charaka-samhita

by Asokan. G | 2008 | 88,742 words

Ayurveda, represented by Charaka and Sushruta, stands first among the sciences of Indian intellectual tradition. The Charaka-samhita, ascribed to the great celebrity Charaka, has got three strata. (1) The first stratum is the original work composed by Agnivesha, the foremost of the six disciples of Punarvasu Atreya. He accomplished the work by coll...

Ten technical debate terms [in Charaka philosophy]

Apart from these forty-four categories, Caraka describes another group of ten technical terms which have precise relevance within the context of Āyurveda.[1]

They are the following:

  1. The agent or the one who initiates an action/physician (kāraṇa).
  2. The instrument that helps the agent to perform his action/ medicaments (karaṇa).
  3. The substantial cause that is being modified into an effect by the action/disturbance of the equilibrium of the dhātus (kāryayoni).
  4. The effect for which the agent performs his action/maintenance of the equilibrium of the dhātus (kārya).
  5. The purpose intended of the effect by the agent/state of freedom from disease (kāryaphala).
  6. The good or bad which binds the doer as a result of the production of the particular effect/longivity (anubandha).
  7. Location or site of the action/patient (deśa).
  8. Time or duration for transformation (kāla) and season.
  9. The effort needed for the production of the desired effect/ therapeutic action (pravṛtti).
  10. The compliance and also the excellence in the proper setting of the agent, instrument, and the material cause to accomplish the desired effect.[2]

Caraka says that all these ten items should be subjected to examination since they constitute the essential constituents of therapeutics.

Similarities and dissimilarities of dialectical terms in Carakasaṃhitā and Nyāya-sūtra:

The following are some of the basic similarities and differences of the dialectical terms in the Carakasaṃhitā and the Nyāya-sūtras. Debate, the five membered syllogism, example, false rejoinder, tenet, the source of knowledge, doubt, purpose, quibble, fallacies of reason, doubt, and point of defeat explained in Carakasaṃhitā are given independent categorical status in the Nyāyasūtras. Sthāpana of Carakasaṃhitā is represented by the category avayava of the Nyāya-sūtras. Similarly, false rejoinder (uttara) of Caraka corresponds to the category jāti of Akṣapāda. The peculiarity of the Nyāya-sūtra is that it enumerates twenty-four divisions of false rejoinders (jāti) which are found lacking in Caraka.

Caraka recognizes pratijñāhāni, abhyanujñā, kālatītavacana, ahetu, nyūna, adhika, vyartha, anarthaka, punarukta, viruddha, hetvantara, and arthāntara as of points of defeat.[3] Ahetu is regaded as a point of defeat in Caraka. Akṣapāda calls it by the name hetvābhāsa. Moreover, he treates it as an independent category and as a division of the point of defeat. Even though the points of defeat pratijñāhāni and hetvantara are described in Nyāya-sūtra and Caraka, they are different in both. Caraka speaks of twelve kinds of points of defeat. Akṣapāda increases the number to twenty-two. Savyabhicāra, which is treated distinctly by Caraka is conceived as a division of fallacies of reason in the Nyāya-sūtra.

The fallacy of reason prakāraṇasama and saṃśāyasama given in Caraka and the Nyāya-sūtras are different. Varṇyasama of the Saṃhitā corresponds to the false rejoinder sādhyasama in the Nyāya-sūtra. Jijñāsa, vavasāya. anuyojya, ananuyojya,, anuyoga, pratyanuyoga, vākyapraśaṃsā, upalaṃbhah, parihāra discussed in Caraka are not given catagorial importance in the Nyāya-sūtras.

Footnotes and references:


CS, Vimāna - sthāna, VIII. 83. Many of the terms described in this group have got specific implications in other disciplines. That is why Caraka says that these terms are described in their technical sense as applied in Āyruveda.


CS, Vimāna - sthāna, VIII. 68 -79, 84.


Ibid., 65.

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